Tina Turner, the iconic American singer who rose to fame from a difficult upbringing and an abusive relationship to become one of the most successful recording artists in history, passed away at the age of 83. According to her representative, she died peacefully at her home in Küsnacht, near Zurich, Switzerland, after a prolonged illness.
Turner’s career began in the 1950s during the emergence of rock ‘n’ roll, and she later became a prominent figure on MTV. Her music video for the chart-topping song “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” exemplified the style of the 1980s, as she confidently strutted through the streets of New York City with her spiky blond hair, donning a cropped jean jacket, a mini skirt, and stiletto heels. With her penchant for musical experimentation and candidly worded ballads, Turner found her place within the 1980s pop scene, where electronically produced sounds were highly valued, contrasting with the idealism of the hippie era.
Referred to as the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Turner earned six out of her eight Grammy Awards in the 1980s. During that decade, she achieved numerous Top 40 hits, including “Typical Male,” “The Best,” “Private Dancer,” and “Better Be Good to Me.” Her 1988 concert in Rio de Janeiro attracted a staggering audience of 180,000 people, making it one of the largest audiences for a single performer.
Turner openly discussed the abuse she endured during her marriage and musical partnership with guitarist Ike Turner in the 1960s and 1970s. She detailed incidents of physical violence that resulted in bruises, broken bones, and visits to the emergency room. Despite these hardships, Turner’s story was not one of victimhood but of remarkable triumph, as expressed by singer Janet Jackson in a Rolling Stone feature that ranked Turner as the 63rd greatest artist of all time.
Turner’s unique voice, described by New York Times music critic Jon Pareles as a three-tiered instrument with a nasal low register, a yowling middle range, and a startlingly clear high register that resembled a falsetto, brought life to many hit songs written by others. Her talent extended beyond music, as she took on acting roles, including her notable portrayal of the ruthless leader in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” alongside Mel Gibson.
Throughout her career, Turner sold over 200 million records and achieved global recognition. Her personal and professional journey, filled with resilience and success, inspired and captivated audiences worldwide. Her legacy lives on through stage shows like “TINA: The Tina Turner Musical” and the HBO documentary “Tina.” Tina Turner will be remembered as a powerhouse of a woman who left an indelible mark on the music industry and touched the hearts of millions.
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